An influencer has the ability to change behavior or impact purchase decisions in a given context. On the web, influencers have loyal following by sharing content on specific topics relevant to their following. Influencer marketing is when a company partners with an influencer or group of influencers in order to introduce their brand to a target audience or to increase their brand awareness. It aims to harness the influence of key individuals on the web to meet a business goal by building mutually beneficial relationships.
Influencers can write a blog about your product, upload posts on their social media, put contests and giveaways for your product or any combinations of the above. Influencers can be celebrities, industry experts, bloggers and content creators or micro influencers. The rapid rise of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook has led to maturity of influencer marketing as a marketing channel. Brands all over the world have started to realize the potential of this channel, and it has been seen to be effective and impactful in industries such as food, beauty, travel, sports and more.
INFLUENCER MARKETING ON A ROLL
Instagram is the most commonly-used platform for influencer marketing. Its user base has grown 10-fold in the past five years. Other than Instagram, it is also interesting to note that more than 320 platforms and influencer marketing agencies have been created in past 12 months. However, this doesn’t ensure the success of marketing and calls for a need of measuring the effectiveness of influencer marketing.
One of the metrics to measure this effectiveness could be Earned Media Value (EMV). EMV is publicity gained from promotional events other than paid media. It can go up to $18 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. Although the average EMV is $5.20 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, it is still higher than average returns from other marketing channels. Therefore, investing in influencer marketing could be your best marketing strategy.About 63% of businesses have expressed their intent to increase their budgets for influencer marketing. It is estimated that half of the respondents will allocate at least 20% of their marketing budgets on influencer marketing. This suggests that influencer marketing has a bright future.
Nearly 89% of all the marketers find return on investment (ROI) to be better in influencer marketing than in other marketing channels.Influencer marketing has been growing consistently in past year. This year, it is predicted to double the numbers in 2017. That is, in 2019 it is expected to be a 6.5 billion dollars industry from 3 billion in 2017.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Influencer fraud is becoming a matter of concern to 2/3rdmarketers who admits to have a personal experience of the fraud in their past campaigns. However, increase in awareness about these frauds could be the solution to this problem.
Selection of influencers has always been difficult for brands. Influencers represent the brand reputation so any of their action against brand’s values could tarnish its image. Research suggests that majority of marketers are concerned about brand safety. Thus, it is suggested to be careful while deciding the influencer for the brand.Automation is an integral part of digital marketing. Influencers can misuse automation resulting in loss of personal touch in campaigns. Research states that more than half of marketers believe that influencers can automate all the campaigns, whereas 47% believes that automation cannot lead to successful influencer campaign.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
In this digital era, it is wise to adapt your marketing strategy to include alternative marketing channels such as influencer marketing. Even though influencer marketing is not mainstream, the statistics give enough reason for optimism. The challenges of automation in campaigns, selection of the right influencers and brand safety cannot dampen the success of influencer marketing. It is both reliable and authentic for the customers as it involves real users which adds to the advantage of higher return on investment for the marketers. The expected growth of influencer marketing as a channel and marketing budget allocation to influencers is also very promising. It will thus not be wrong to say that influencer marketing is clearly taking over social media.